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Annual gala generates big results

JAR of Hope Foundation, which raises funds to research a rare, fatal childhood disease, staged its third annual JAR of Hope Gala on Oct. 7 and attracted more than 300 people to the Forsgate Country Club, Monroe Township.

Attendees enjoyed a gourmet dinner, live auctions and dancing to the music of The Nerds. In five hours, JAR of Hope raised $117,468, according to a press release.

JAR of Hope Foundation was founded by Jim and Karen Raffone of Manalapan four years ago after their son, James Anthony (Jamesy), then 4 years old, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

The muscle-wasting disease can be fatal by the time an individual reaches their early 20’s, according to the press release.

Jim Raffone has said the disease is so rare that most drug companies were not even testing for a cure because executives did not think it was financially worth the effort.

Raffone now travels all over the country to increase awareness about Duchenne, speaking to groups ranging from schools to state legislatures, and from college and professional sports teams to health clubs, according to the press release.

He runs in marathons and extreme races, such as the recent 170-mile G2G Ultra in Utah/Arizona, to raise money for research.

The foundation’s annual gala has become an occasion not only to raise funds, but to thank the community.

“As the gala progressed through the evening, an amazing phenomenon started taking place,” Raffone said. “People gave and gave and gave … and then gave more. All of us here at JAR of Hope were really touched by our community’s resolve to give these kids a fighting chance.”

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